As of today, 227 Yemeni refugees have arrived in Djibouti together with an unknown number of other nationals who have fled/were evacuated but have not asked for asylum. The arrival rate of refugees is gaining pace and the Djiboutian authorities expecting a large influx, although the extent is still unclear.
New Yemeni arrivals are being directed to Obock port by the Djiboutian coastguard, where they are received by ONARS, the government refugee agency, at the Al-Rahma temporary transit center. On 4 April, there were 167 new arrivals compared to between one and twenty per day since the first group of 18 arrived on 31 March.
The refugees came from the Mayoun island which had experienced intense fighting with aerial bombings and cited lack of fuel as one of the reasons preventing greater numbers of people from leaving. Previously, refugees arriving from the Bab El Mandem coastline said they were fleeing after militias occupied their villages. Initially a camp site had been identified in Oulma largely because of an availability of water. However, during discussions UNHCR had with the local population of Oulma, they raised the issue of extreme heat in the summer months. As a consequence, the government identified another site at Markazi for the construction of a refugee camp. The new site is located four kilometers from Obock. It has a borehole and UNICEF, FAO, the “Direction of hydraulics” and ONEAD (the Djiboutian water company) are to conduct a rapid assessment on the capacity of the borehole.
UNHCR has already moved stocks of refugee relief items from Oulma to Markazi and has started putting up tents. UNHCR is supporting the Government to coordinate assistance efforts with UN agencies and NGO partners. The response will be organized per sectorial working groups on protection, shelter, water, food security, nutrition and health.